Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Big Beam

Here is the first of the big beams. It is full of cement and should be unveiled later this morning. If I understand all this correctly, there will be a beam from each column to the roof line. Bill and Umberto will use this same form to pour beams on the inside walls as well, to support the new roof. We will get the new inside roof before we get the portal roof done. So in the next post I should be able to show you at least one finished concrete beam.BUT, what I really want to show you are two more pendants and then, I'll try not to put anymore on the blog. You can either see them on the etsy site or the glasspondstudio website or come on down to Alamos, where you can see them at the Terracotta Tienda. Small ones are $25 and large ones are $35. $5 shipping...........just in case you are curious.
I have turned 12 tiles into pendants, so now, I need to replace those with 12 new tiles for the bathroom. You can see right through Calle Durango, above and it looks the feathers of a peacock. Below, is Calle Rosales.

So, enough of that.......

The temperature here is very, very high. Yesterday reached 100. I imagine today will be the same. BUT, there is a wonderful breeze and no humidity. I know it is hot, but I was surprised to discover it is that hot.
Old colonial casas in Alamos, that are built around courtyards may not get many breezes, but their old adobe walls keep them nice and cool. The streets may be hot and dusty, but the houses stay cool and unaware of the heat outside. Sometimes, when I walk by an old casa with an open front door, I can just smell the coolness and if I touch the wall, it even feels cool.

Our little casa is at the top of a hill. We get wonderful breezes from both the east and the west. The streetside adobe wall does not deter the breeze at all. The wind still makes it into the two livable indoor rooms. If you recall any of the earlier photos, those rooms have very nice, long windows in them.

In the photo below, you can see the room that is behind the garden room. It is the room with the falling down roof, the one that small aircraft like to buzz over 2 or 3 times for some reason. Maybe they think it is Hurricane damage.
I often keep the door open because there is a window in there that lets in a terrific breeze. Not so good when the rains start, because it pours buckets in there which then flood the garden room.
When we planned our move here, there were so many things I said I would be able to do without. I gave up my food processor, my blender, our tv, I could go on and on and on, but won't.
However, one thing I have never liked and could easily do without, is air-conditioning. I was raised in the south and my mother always had on the air-conditioning and I always had my window open and she was constantly bugging me about that.....linda, is your window open........close it right now...........linda, i am talking to you........close that window...NOW!
In the Northwest, we had air conditioning for rare occassions, and Bill would sometimes come home and say.....i turned on the a/c before I went to work, what happened......i would say.........i don't know, maybe one of the kids opened a window somewhere................i loved to blame that sort of thing on our kids.
When we go to the states on our next trip, we will not be buying a food processor, we will not be buying a tv, but we will be buying an air-conditioner.
I see these beautiful, windy, hot February days, without humidity, but I know what is right around the corner, lurking, waiting to soak us and take our breath away. That thing that will let us work until about 11 am and then cause us to retreat to cooler grounds.
I plan to be nice and comfortable in at least one air conditioned room, window closed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blog Block

Good afternoon!
A picture below, of this morning's sky right before sunrise!
The sun is coming up right behind the mirador, which is the highest point in the town of Alamos. You cannot see it in the photo, but from the garden room we can see the flag pole and out buildings on top of the mirador. I have had blog block for days. And believe me, it has not been for lack of subjects. There is so much going on in this little town and of course, at our casa. There are many things I could have written about and shared with you, but I have had this block. Perhaps that is the whole problem, too much going on, and too many things to share?
So.................I will just begin slowly today. Look at the photo below.Can you believe that? Isn't that the most gorgeous little kiva you have ever seen?
Remember, this will be the master bedroom. I am so excited about the fireplace. the photo below you can see that Bill is still working his way to the top. He needs to finish this before he can start putting on the new roof. You can see the existing roof and what you see does not look bad, but alot of the beams are in very bad condition and falling apart, as are the adobes. We will be switching to concrete beams.

Now, look at the photo below. What do you think it is?
hint.........something buried in the yard.

answer..............this is the old tinnaco.
It is now buried in the yard and there is a bilge pump inside it. A pvc water pipe will be in the trench and will go from the tinnaco to the main water pipe. The fountain stand you see in the background will sit on top of the tinnaco. The basin will be on top of that. Bill is making a round form, so I can pour the cement and make the little pool that will surround the fountain.
He has explained it a hundred times, but I still don't get how the fountain stand will be on top of the tinnaco. I will just pour the cement and leave all that up to him.
He has started putting the rebar across the tops of the columns so he can pour the beams that will hold the roof up.
In the meantime, I have made all the capitals I need to make! HOORAY!!!!
So, I have been focusing on making my Mexican Window glass tiles. Most of them will go in the bathroom, but I have put some of them in my etsy shop as pendants.
The tiles are my representation of mexican windows and how colorful they can be. If you want to see more, you can watch the etsy shop as I'll probably list about 12 of them.
They are all named for either calles (streets) in Alamos, or are named for certain buildings.

The tile below is a window of the Iglesia Parroquia de Nuestra de la Concepcion. Or, easier said, the main church at the plaza. You cannot see it in the photo, but if you hold the tile/pendant to the light, the back is clear yellow and it looks like a light is shining there, in the window. The small piece in the lower center is yellow and represents a small candlelight.

Below, is another window in the church. In the photo you cannot see it, but the two dots on the right are amber and the small glass in the center is clear bright blue.

The window below is Calle Juarez. Part of the base layer is a beautiful deep sea blue and when held to the light, you can look through the sides of the main window and see that color.

Below, Calle Chihuahua.

Calle Mina is in the photo below.

Calle Commercio is below.

Calle Hidalgo is below. Hidalgo is layered green and yellow glass and when you hold it to the light, you can see those layers, plus a beautiful green that the overlapping colors have created.

Calle Madero, below, has a clear aqua blue and lavendar base and is really pretty to look through.

So, these I will try and sell on etsy or the glasspondstudio website, or eventually I will knock off the bails and add them to the hundred or so others I have going for the bathroom tiles. As senor snoops around the tiles, where I have placed them on top of a dresser, he rearranges their order
by color or size. Now that he has held some of them to the light and noticed he can see through those, he thinks we should have wall sconces made from those, to put on either side of the bathroom mirror (which we don't have).
So, I think I am going to be making tiles for a long time.
And, I will be very happy to do that.
Que tengas buen dia!! Linda Lou

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's all about Screws


We have had beautiful sunsets the last few evenings, but again, it has turned cold at night. It was 50 degrees when I went to the track this, it is around 75 in the afternoon and just perfect. There is a very light breeze, some wood smoke in the air, and this weather feels like the fall we always had in the Pacific Northwest.

And, then last night's full moon above our palm tree.

Senor says it's all about screws........ I suggested plastic and duct tape to make the form, but he added screws...........okay, okay, okay.............
You know what? I think it doesn't really matter anymore because when you look at the end product in the photos below, you will forget all about how it came to be..............

Carving intricate details now.

So, you can see my capital and now, the cornice on top. One little note, if you are planning to make some capitals this weekend, don't forget to oil your forms and the little plastic bowl as well.
I forgot about that several days ago. And don't worry, all the columns are perfectly straight, it is the camera that is crooked.

A new batch of bathroom tiles ready for the kiln fire.

Below, after the fire.

some very pretty colors.................

que tengas buen dia.......

Friday, February 6, 2009

To be continued.................

So, I think it looks fine, but senor says no more. We will use the capital, of course. Perhaps we can put it on top of the very last column at the far end of the house, or maybe a pretty bouganvilla or trumpet vine will one day cover it up. I know he likes the tile, he just does not like it in the, I will fire them up strictly for the bathroom, for now.
I asked him if I could sign my name on the capitals, like a little initial or something.
He said no.

Below, senor has returned (yesterday) with the new jigsaw and is cutting cornice forms. After cutting the wood cornice shapes, he has used them to create the thing below. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but does it look like something concrete will go in?
He was absolutely shocked to read that I find this capital making stuff rather boring. I asked him what he was doing reading the blog...... he never reads the blog.

The under side of this new form. Is that duct tape?????????????????????
I JUST REALIZED THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At dinner the other night senor was complaining about the wood forms and how quickly they warp down here. I SUGGESTED he make a plastic form.
he said..............and how would I keep that together...........i said..............duct tape.
he said........... no way.
He just used my idea and I did not realize it until I put on this picture.
I just went out to the stable and said........THAT'S MY IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU USED MY IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HE said....nope, it's my idea................
I can hardly believe this. I did not see the photo of the underside until I just put it on the screen. I just went back out to the stable. He still insists it is not my idea, it is his. IT IS NOT!!!!
I told him I am blogging this right now. He said................i made this days ago..........i did not! you burned out your jig saw and had to go get a new one! you made that yesterday! and you used my idea..............................
to be continued.............................

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Senor has Left the Building

This morning's early sky as I was leaving for the soccer track....a little bit blurry, but then so were my eyes at 6:30am.

I have been told by senor that I am making capitals not, okay, I get that. I am making what you see in the photo below, the square and round pieces that are in between the roof and the column. The first one I made fell apart.
He says I should go ahead and make them first thing in the mornings if I can..................

So, I made another one yesterday and unveiled it this morning when I returned from the track. You can see it in the photos below. It is still all in one piece.

Of course, Senor made wood forms for me to use. The forms are screwed together for easy removal.
Here is how it all works.
I place the square form on top of the black plastic. I center the bowl in the middle and drop in the big rock. Then I go out to the stable and the work area nearby. I get 3 shovels of fine sand (that I have put through a wire grate over a bucket to get out the bigger rocks and pebbles). I toss that in the wheelbarrow. I go in the stable and get 2 half shovels of cement (don't ask me why I don't just get one full shovel's worth, this is my routine).
I toss that on the sand in the wheelbarrow. I mix it up a little and then spray it with the hose. Then I mix it for a long time with a trowel and add more water to get the consistency of cooked oatmeal. Then I take the wheel barrow to the black plastic and with a trowel I start filling in all the space around the green bowl. Then I tamp it all down so the water will come to the top. Then I hit the sides of the boards with a hammer to get out the air bubbles. Then with the trowel, I try and smooth it all down so it's nice and shiny.

Then I put on the second board and do that all over again and cover it with a tarp when I am finished.

I can promise you that it is about the most boring thing I have ever done in my life............taking apart the whole thing is difficult because I have to unscrew all the forms, and then, I get cranky as I know I will have to screw them all back together to make the next one.......... I have to eventually make ten capitals, only one a day because we only have one you remember when I thought I would have to make 800 placas? I really should not be complaining.
However, I will say I am in awe of senor's abilities to make all these forms. He spends alot of time at it, and so much time cutting the round circles and other details with his jigsaw. In fact, he burned out the motor on his jigsaw making another round form I will be using for something else when I finish the capitals.
So, he took off this morning to go to Navajoa to find a new jig saw.
After he left, I thought to myself, what if I don't make a capital today? Then, I thought to myself, senor will have a fit.
But I don't have to do it right away, do I?..........i called KD and Ian, just to chat....... made some oatmeal for Umberto............... looked at the bread machine I bought at the Tucson Goodwill for $3.95 and realized it doesn't have a paddle....................... tried to find a venezia steam wand online...................tried to find a bread paddle online................looked at oil cloth online.............looked at some flikr photos by my friend toni's husband.......ran out to see who was going by on about 10 horses..........combed the cats.............turned the compost pile.....checked my etsy shop.........checked the glasspondstudio website.............
Suddenly it was noon.
While I was watching a bright red cardinal flitting through the yard, I realized senor could be back at any time and I have done................nothing.
I decide to begin. I check the thermometer. Eighty one, in the shade. Maybe that is why he says do it first thing in the morning.
I get everything ready and Umberto comes over just like he did yesterday when I was making one and tells me again that I have to use wire inside the capital and outside to hold it together. I try to tell him that is why we have a form, so we don't have to tie barbed wire around it to hold it all together. He goes over to the fence and points to the barbed wire and then points to the capital, says............ mas fuerte con alambre (more strong with wire)................he pantomines the capital overhead, it falling to pieces on his head as he jumps up and out of harm's way.........I just spread my fingers, palms up and try and tell him..............senor digas eso, este (senor says this one, this way (or something like that)).....he shakes his head and shrugs and says.....alambre........again and walks off to go back to work.
By now, my cement is already turning to concrete, but I am too lazy to go and remix it. Most of the water is gone and it is more like uncooked oatmeal.
But because I am already bored with the project, I scoop and fill and tap, scoop and fill and tap.
The whole process, without counting the conversation with Umberto, has taken two and a half hours of my afternoon.
And then, suddenly, I have inspiration.
A little water has surfaced from the dry oatmeal and it is smooth and shiny like glass. I want to make an imprint of some sort. Inside the casa I go to the glass shelf where I am making, at senor's request, about 250 little dichroic glass tiles for the bathroom. They will go in one line around the shower stall......(i am extremely flattered that he likes my glass tiles so much that he wants to display them in our casa, and fortunately, it is a project I love doing).
I take one little tile out to the capital and press it gently into the cement.
As I cover up the form with the tarp, I think to myself, that really wasn't so bad afterall........

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

FM3 Renewal and the Church

We have just returned from a trip to Tucson. It began as a trip to Hermosillo to renew our FM3 Visas. We received our visas in March, 2008, in Seattle.

We established a Mexican corporation when we came to Mexico and the corporation is registered in Hermosillo, so we needed to go there for renewal.

At the immigration office in Hermosillo, we were told it is not when you got your FM3 that matters, it is when you entered the country. We entered the country on June 18, 2008. We were also told it is not necessary to renew within 30 days, but we needed to be alot closer to June 18, than the month of February. Senora told us to come back in March.
Some of this information is contrary to what we have been told by other people and also to what we have read on the internet. We will have to keep you posted on this one.

We continued north to Tucson for 3 days, where we just played. We watched the food channel at the Red Roof Inn, ate prime rib and barbeque at some very good restaurants, and drove up and down Ina Road for alot of shopping. I love Ina Road, it is very easy to get everywhere from this road and I am sure I have told you that before.

We also drove through Saguaro National Park. The park is beautiful and has a number of buildings that were built in the 30's by the CCC. The road is very winding and rough in some places. The terrain and scenery are not that different from the topography here. Everything was very dry, but like here, colored with hundreds of shades of browns and greens. It's amazing how colorful the dessert can be, even during the dry season.
Below are some photos of the Saguaro National Park.

After a stop in San Carlos for the night, we returned to Alamos.
So, we will make this trip again in March to Hermosillo to attempt the renewal of our Fm3's .......

And, by the way, our truck was packed with the last 2 antique chests and the long 8x4 painting and no one said boo! to us as we crossed the border.....yes, I had the 'list' ready. Unless we have an unusual border crossing in the future, I won't bore you with any more border crossing details.................

I am including some information on the church here, because a question was asked about it on the FAOT post. The church in Alamos, Iglesia Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion (sorry, I can not fairly translate that), is indeed a baroque design. Construction began in 1786 and was completed in 1804.
Many contributions were made during the building of the church: china plates were placed in the outside walls, near the arches and the initials of families making silver or money contributions for the construction can be seen along the bricks at the bottom of the church.
The church clock came from Rome and there are also Moorish architectural points inside and outside of the church.
My information comes from several of the books I have purchased at the Alamos Books and Maps shop which is located in the Terracotta Tiendas across from the Plaza de Armas, where the church is located.
You can see more photos of the church in the previous post, FAOT, and on, in the Alamos set. I will try to get more photos of this beautiful town on a future post.
Now that we are back, we are in the swing of it all once again, and as I write Bill and Umberto are working on the trench for the remaining columns. And I have made two cupolas, the first one broke into several pieces when we removed it from its form. the second one is drying now in the sun...............................I will tell you all about it in the next post.

the back of the church at night, local stones from the Alamos area complete the wall..............

the church only has one tower................according to a book from Alamos Books and Maps most churches in Mexico have 2 towers, so construction on this church was probably interrupted. But a church in Mexico with only one tower is considered an incomplete structure, so it is not taxed.